At the Microsoft Dynamics 365 User Group Summit 2017 in Nashville, the Dynamics 365 product team walked customers through a range of updates within Dynamics 365 for Sales/CRM.
Connecting CRM data with Office, LinkedIn graphs
Within Dynamics 365 Sales, there is an emphasis on “social selling with context,” meaning more bi-directional flow of data between D365, Office and LinkedIn, to round out visibility of a lead or opportunity, and to make it all about relationship sales. Microsoft is using “fuzzy logic” technology to surface LinkedIn data from Dynamics, and vice versa. Actions taken in Sales Navigator will also filter back to the field and activities of the Dynamics entity. Dynamics 365 leads can also be sent to LinkedIn if the sales rep believes he or she will be better engaged via communications on that platform. Those interactions will be fed back to Dynamics, too, as part of the integration.
Microsoft noted advances in the use of Azure-based analytical tools for the benefit of Dynamics 365 for Sales/CRM customers. The team is updating Customer Insights with segmentation, lead scoring, conflation analysis (duplicate matching), and other machine learning capabilities.
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In Customer Insights, segmentation capabilities of the current release are “not just demographic, but psychographic,” said Dynamics 365 general manager, Param Kahlon, speaking at a Summit general session. So while segments can be created based on static attributes like postal code, they can also be created based on predictive logic about the likelihood that the people will respond to a particular message or offer.
Customer Insights is built to support two things, Kahlon explained. First, it can ingest large volumes of data from multiple sources about customers. Second, the system is designed to identify the same person or entity represented across systems and provide an accurate and cohesive profile for use in analysis.
Beyond out-of-the-box algorithms provided with Customer Insights, Microsoft also wants customers to create their own machine learning algorithms. For example, a customer churn score could be developed relatively easily, Kahlon told users, if the organization has lists of known customers that have and have not churned. The machine learning engine can analyze data around those lists and build a model that can be applied to new customers to provide a likelihood-to-churn score. A set of activities or alerts could then be implemented to manage those high-risk customers.
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User experience to be updated to a unified interface
The v9 launch also opens the next chapter in the Dynamics 365 team’s work to optimize the user experience. It is a journey that began over six years ago, Kahlon said, and has now been through several iterations. The new interface, known as the Unified Client Interface (UCI), will be used to update all the existing customer experience apps, as well as the as-yet unreleased lower-tier sales app and marketing app.
The updated look and feel is subtle in some places, but the technology change is significant, and Microsoft representatives say they have tried to find a balance between improving visual borders, information density, and layout. Some seemingly small improvements will make a big impact on customers, like the ability of a long field value to dynamically wrap to a new line rather than being cut off – a feature that drew applause from users.
Let us know if you have any questions about these or other announcements at Microsoft Summit.
Director, Enterprise Sales, SBS Group
Joe Gulino has spent 30 years growing and running mid-sized ERP and CRM consulting organizations. Recently, he has focused his career on helping large and mid-sized services companies select, procure and implement ERP and CRM solutions. He has experience in several industries including manufacturing, distribution and professional services.
Today, Joe serves SBS Group customers in his role as Director of Corporate Account Sales where he helps customers solve business problems using Microsoft Dynamics 365 technology. Joe holds a B.A. in Business Administration and Computer Science from Rosary College, and is based in Naperville, Illinois.